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Blatter: Interest was huge

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter during post Executive Committee press conference 31 May 2009
© Foto-net

Following on from the FIFA Executive Committee meeting on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 May in the Bahamas, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter gave a press conference where the 12 host cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup were announced together with important updates on other matters.

On the panel with the FIFA President were Jerome Valcke, FIFA General Secretary, Ricardo Terra Teixeira, FIFA Ex-Co Member and President of the CBF (Brazil's FA). Also present in the audience was the FIFA Honorary President Joao Havelange.

On the 12 host cities for 2014
Joseph S. Blatter:It's my great pleasure to be in direct contact with the continent of football - I don't only mean the continent of South America, but the continent of Brazil. The interest was huge, I would like to say that FIFA initially wanted 10 cities, but after the intervention of Ricardo Terra Teixeira we agreed to expand it to 12. We had a decision to make about the Amazonas region and we decided on Manaus. We couldn't have 17 cities so five were out. But we will have other activities such as ceremonies, conferences, referees meetings and workshops - we will try to have all the cities in the bidding process having a little part of the big cake of the World Cup. We didn't listen to political interventions; we want a sporting success and concentrated on these grounds.

I remember the last time Brazil hosted a World Cup - in 1950. I was following the Switzerland team who drew 2-2 with Brazil! In the meantime Brazil has been World Champion five times, so it's a must that the tournament comes back to Brazil, but it can't be in all 17 cities.

Brazil will show to the world that not only does it have good players but it has good organisers. We trust you.

Jerome Valcke:We held an inspection from 30 January to 7 February 2009 where FIFA and the LOC visited the 17 Host City candidates. Each gave an airport presentation and their plan for improvements. We were given a helicopter tour showing the infrastructure in the city and around the stadium. We met with the architects of the stadiums. All 17 submitted detailed information to the LOC and this was reviewed by FIFA and the LOC and then presented to the Executive Committee of FIFA who made the final decisions.

Ricardo Terra Teixeira:Today is an historic day for Brazil. I would like to focus on three areas: first, the technical level of the projects from the Host Cities was highly competent and guided in an impartial way. Second, there are no winners and no defeated cities. All of Brazil is the winner, everyone will participate not just the Host Cities. We will develop projects for other areas in Brazil. Thirdly, today is not the end but the beginning of the process and we must respect the huge responsibility and privilege that FIFA has placed in these host cities.

FIFA will take into account the vast distances involved in Brazil as they did in 1994 in the USA, where they had to contend with time zone differences as well.

It's going to be a tall order, I compare it to completing University entrance exams - now we have five years to get our diploma and we will have to pass many exams. There is a lot to do and it's an enormous responsibility for us, for Brazil and for FIFA.

On Team Great Britain and the 2012 Olympics
Jerome Valcke:On the day before the Ex-Co meeting, we received a letter of agreement from the four associations of the United Kingdom that there will only be one Great Britain team and it will consist only of English players.

Joseph S. Blatter:We have received confirmation from WADA that FIFA's Disciplinary Code and Anti-Doping regulations are totally in compliance with WADA regulations. There is one small point which needs further investigation, that of Article 54 on suspended injured players returning to train following their ban. But there is no problem between WADA and FIFA, our only issue was to maintain the principle that WADA is a service provider for sport not a police organisation. WADA is the guardian of anti-doping and that sportsmen and women should not start from the principle that they are already under suspicion. It should be remembered that at the Olympics there were no doping cases in team sports, only in individual sports.

On the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria
Jerome Valcke:The CAF President Issa Hayatou, Chairman of the Organising Committee Jack Warner and myself will travel to Nigeria on 11 June 2009 to meet with the Vice-President of the country Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

On Caribbean football
Joseph S. Blatter:The future for the region is in developing young players and having professional leagues but it's not so easy when many of the islands are small. Remember that before 1999 member associations received no money from FIFA. Since then they have received $1m every four years and the confederation $10m USD over the same period. Plus a Goal Programme project is worth $400,000. This is what FIFA can do with help from courses, management, marketing, medicine etc. But your Associations have to work and your governments have to provide the infrastructure.

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